Liam Dawson and Nick Gubbins were the stars of an excellent team performance as England Lions made a winning start to the A-team Tri-Series against India at the 3aaa County Ground in Derby.
Dawson took four for 30 from 10 overs as an Indian team packed with young stars from the IPL were restricted to 232 all out after choosing to bat first.
Then Gubbins picked up where he had left off with two superb centuries in the North-South Series in Barbados in March, steering the Lions to a comfortable seven-wicket victory with more than eight overs to spare - and ending unbeaten on 128 from 132 balls.
Watched by the England coach Trevor Bayliss and selector Mick Newell, the Middlesex left-hander stroked 10 fours and hit two sixes, sharing stands of 134 with Sam Hain for the second wicket, and 61 with Lancashire captain Liam Livingstone, who launched two sixes in three balls in a typically powerful contribution of 27 from 24 balls.
It was a fifth List A century for the 24-year-old Gubbins, three of which have come in his last 10 innings.
The Lions fielded three debutants – the Yorkshire pair of Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Matthew Fisher, and Steven Mullaney of Nottinghamshire, who has been appointed captain for the Tri-Series after his impressive leadership of the North in the North-South Series in March.
Lancashire leg-spinner Matt Parkinson was omitted from the 11 as the Lions selected four specialist seamers, and Tom Helm of Middlesex made an important early breakthrough when he had Prithvi Shaw caught behind.
Reece Topley shared the new ball with Helm and after being driven for three boundaries in his opening over by the King’s XI Punjab opener Mayank Agarwal, the Hampshire left-armer gained revenge courtesy of a superb driving catch by Surrey wicketkeeper Ben Foakes.
Shubman Gill, who was a team-mate of Shaw in the India team who won the ICC Under-19s World Cup last winter, moved stylishly to 37 until he was the first victim of Dawson’s nagging accuracy.
Rishabh Pant, perhaps the best-known member of the India A squad after his stunning performances for Delhi Daredevils, joined his captain Shreyas Iyer to add 71 inside 12 overs for the fourth wicket.
But Dawson broke their stand when he lured Iyer down the pitch for Foakes to complete a simple stumping – and with his next ball, the Hampshire left-arm spinner pinned Vijay Shankar lbw.
Pant counter-attacked to reach his half century inside 44 balls, including a stunning straight six off Fisher.
But Chris Jordan had the dangerous all-rounder Krunal Pandya chipping to mid-wicket before Mullaney’s decision to use Liam Livingstone’s off-spin against the left-handers paid off, with Pant top-edging a sweep to deep square leg.
Deepak Chahar and Axar Patel played sensibly until Helm returned to dismiss them in consecutive overs, with Patel falling to a superb running catch by Gubbins on the cover boundary which was typical of a slick Lions fielding display.
Kohler-Cadmore fell early, lbw to Shardul Thakur. But Hain joined Gubbins to add 134 in 24 overs, a new second-wicket record for the Lions in List A matches against India A, beating the 107 put on by Steve Davies and Ian Bell at Worcester in 2010.
Dawson’s figures were also the best for the Lions in a one-day match against India A, and the best by a spinner in List A cricket against any opposition at home.
The highlight of a forgettable day for Rahul Dravid’s Indians came when Gill took a superb catch to dismiss Livingstone, throwing the ball in the air as he toppled over the mid-wicket boundary, then diving back into the field of play for a one-handed grab.
The Lions are back in action at the 3aaa County Ground on Saturday against West Indies A (11am start). India’s next game is at the Fischer County Ground in Leicester on Monday.